The Chinese-owned London Taxi Company revealed its all-new TX5 black cab in the UK overnight, ahead of its global rollout from 2017 — including in Australia.
The unveiling is timed to coincide with a UK meeting today between UK prime minister David Cameron and the Chinese premier, Xi Jinping.
The new TX5, which naturally hangs on to the familiar retro design (courtesy of a Spanish studio) the car has been rocking for five decades, is nevertheless markedly different underneath.
Gone is the rattly old VM Motori diesel and in comes a new petrol-based plug-in hybrid drivetrain to allow it to meet London’s incoming zero-emissions regulations for taxis that take effect in 2018. Exact details appear vague at this stage.
There’s also a new architecture using aluminium, and all the basic requirements are covered: storage capacity beside the driver, wheelchair access, face-to-face passenger seating for six people, WiFi, and a turning circle small enough to negotiate the Savoy Hotel roundabout.
The new model is part of a £250m investment by owner, Chinese brand Geely. This includes a £50m investment in an all-new factory that will make at least 36,000 cars a year and will eventually build up to seven different electric vehicles based on the same architecture.
According to Autocar, the current London demand for cabs is only about 3500 units a year.
As we know, local importer the London Taxi Company Australia has been conducting a trial on TX4s on local taxi fleets.
The company has ust received full volume ADR certification on the current version and will roll it out soon.
Company director Evan Simeon told us today that the company would bring sample models here from 2018, to look towards meeting ADR homologation. Conveniently, 2018 is the year locally made Toyota Camrys cease to be.